A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

April 1999

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The March Meeting With Belden
Upcoming Meetings and Happenings
Back to the Basics of Customer Service
Job Postings
Clay's Corner
Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Renew Or Apply For Membership
Amateur Radio News
Home is where you hang your @
Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas
News and Views from SBE Chapter 18 - Philadelphia
Dilbert's Salary Theorem
Sightings Of The Stupid
The Top 3 Unforeseen Consequences of the "Millennium Bug"

The March Meeting With Belden

By SBE Chair Eric Schultz

On Thursday, March 18 members of Chapter 48, along with other professionals from the local broadcasting, audio and video engineering community gathered at the Executive Conference Center at Inverness Business Park for a seminar on moving to digital. The program was put together by Dave Geon of Belden Wire and Cable. (The difference between wire and cable was explained during the seminar. Apparently a cable contains multiple conductors in the same sheath. Coax is an example of cable. A wire contains a single conductor, even if the conductor is stranded.) The keynote speaker was Steve Lampen, Senior Audio- Video Specialist for Belden. His book, "Wire, Cable, and Fiber Optics for Video and Audio Engineers" is published by McGraw-Hill, and Steve's column, "Wired for Sound" appears monthly in Radio World Magazine.

Steve's seminar focused on the properties that determine a cable's ability to pass the increased bandwidth needed for digital video. Starting with the basics, including diameter, dielectric materials and characteristic impedance, the seminar was both useful and entertaining. Steve also discussed the origins of RG-59, RG-6 and other old favorites. He talked about newer cable types designed for carrying digital signals, and made recommendations for designing a new plant or rewiring an old one.

Steve's seminar was followed by a speaker from ADC who talked about how ADC has re-engineered their products to meet the demands of a digital world. Also, representatives from Chapter 48 sustaining member, Westlake Electronic Supply were present with literature and samples.

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Upcoming meetings and Happenings

AprilA chapter get-together at NAB on the 21st?

April 16-19 Broadcast Education Association 99, Las Vegas, Nevada

April 17 - 22 The NAB99 Conferences

May Student Program at Auraria - Details to be announced.

May 25-28 SCTE/Cable-Tec Expo, Orlando, FL,

June 16 Lunch at NDTC

June 7-11 SBE Leadership Skills Seminar, Indianopolis, IN

July 14 World Famous Picnic on Lookout Mountain

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Back to the Basics of Customer Service

By Robert W. Vaillancourt, CBTE SBE
SBE San Diego Chapter 36 Vice-Chairman

Have you ever heard the following line from any cohorts you work with, "Hey, I told them once how to get around this problem. Don't call me with this again!". I would bet that many of you heard that statement at least once if not several times by someone who forgot why he or she is in the business of maintaining equipment or operator training. All right, you've done everything known to mankind to assist certain individuals with ongoing problems and you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel except the freight train barreling down the track simply to run you down.

How about this one: You are simply too overworked with equipment and projects to constantly return and help this individual or department. "What I have to do is more important than what they want me to do." It is difficult at times going back to certain individuals who you have made a conscientious effort to assist and show them proper techniques to performing what appears to you to be a simple objective. You may feel some individuals are taking the simple way out by calling you or your department. Did I just put salt into an old wound here? It has to do with priorities and the importance placed on them. Think back at times you were asked to assist individuals or departments to determine if the problem they were experiencing was simply to relieve the amount of work they had to do. I seldom think this is being done intentionally. It comes down to broken equipment, knowledge of the system, or that perfect 100 page write up you sat at their desk which was read to page 99. Unfortunately, the answer they were looking for was on page 100. Do you think they were aware of your priorities? Do you think they care? In some cases the answer may be NO. O.K., pick yourself off the floor. Stop the presses! I know that was a tough statement and everyone should care what your priorities are. The reason they may not care about your priorities is because what they have to accomplish may be very high on their priority list and may not be able to be completed because of broken equipment. Do their priorities have precedence?

Try looking at this from a different angle: If they cannot perform their tasks with the equipment at hand, their priorities will take precedence. In most cases, they will not look for the easy way out. So let's eliminate that idea right off the top of the list. Why not let this individual know that their problems can be resolved. If possible, try to rectify their emergency. If you feel there is a more immediate priority on your list of items needing attention, then let the individual know that you will attend to their needs later due to a more pressing problem. If possible, give them a time and or date when you can fix their problem. I can guarantee they will be more accommodating if they know what priorities you are trying to resolve. You may determine that the problem they are experiencing may need to be placed higher on your priority list.

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Job Postings

As a service to SBE/SMPTE membership, technology positions in the Rocky Mtn. region are posted at no charge. Please send your posting to:

Rome Chelsi

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Clay's Corner

By Clay Freinwald
Chapter 16

Hi there! This really feels funny as I sit here in front of my new computer at home and attempt to put together this column. After over ten years of doing this with Windows 3.1 the change to Win-98 is a real change; lots of fooling around and I will, too, get the hang of it.

A certain Broadcast Engineer recently was called by a certain Radio Station that reported they were off the air. The Engineer asked the Announcer to go to the Transmitter Remote control panel so he could talk the fellow through putting the transmitter back on the air. The fellow reported that he could not do that right now as he was busy playing spots.

During a recent windstorm we lost power at one of our facilities that does not have back-up power. This site has tower lights so I figured that I'd call the FAA to report the lights were out. The fellow asked me for the latitude and longitude of the site and the elevation. This I gave him I also asked him if he wanted the Tower Registration Number. His response was a bit surprising. He said that he had no use for this information, that this was just an FCC thing. Wow! I thought that the FAA would be interested in the Registration Number. I then told him the tower height in Meters and that did it. This fellow informed me that he had no use for tower heights in Meters and wanted it in FEET only. That pushed my button. I responded that as far as I was concerned the US Government wants this in Meters and it sounds to me like an INTERNAL problem.

I do know that the FAA does use the registration numbers because I got a call the other day from a fellow with the FAA. Seems he had received a call from a citizen reporting that a particular tower's lights were not coming on soon enough. Somehow the FAA found me from the number AT HOME! If you'd like to learn more about how the FAA and FCC look at towers and tower lighting, give Ben Dawson a call (Hatfield and Dawson, Seattle). He has a very interesting paper he can send you that will give you new insight into this issue.

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Well, the big news in the world of Radio is the FCC's decision to consider allowing some form of low power radio service. Needless to say the battle lines have been drawn. Existing broadcasters, Commercial and Non-Commercial, are opposed to it while the Pirates and radio-station-operator-wannabies are all in favor of it.

Remember the Wireless Privacy Bill? Well, the issue is back again. This time introduced by Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico. The new one, HR514 is much like the old in that it would impact scanners, etc. If you are involved in news gathering using these devices, you might want to take a look at this item to see if a response would be in your best interest. No one is listening until YOU make a mistake.

In the February 15th NAB Radio Tech-Check they have a very interesting article about Cross-Field Antennas. I wonder if there will be a paper on this at NAB this year. Most of the new designs for AM antennas that are supposed to reduce skywave have flopped. Take a look at this one, interesting.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

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Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Renew Or Apply For Membership

From Chapter 36

1.) Dues support our local chapter in its efforts to buy its own TV station.

2.) Schmooze with the people who do the hiring or know the people who do the hiring around town. Show them your faults BEFORE getting an interview.

3.) SBE represents you in Congressional issues such as import duties on vending machine foods.

4.) Eat free food at our meetings without feeling like a sneak.

5.) Meetings provide an outlet for talking shop at meetings. Neither your family nor your pet have been paying attention.

6.) Get discounts on NAB Convention full registration. Allows you to catch a few winks at those technical presentations.

7.) Save money through the SBE technical bookstore on some real page-turners.

8.) Get free access to the SBE job line listings for hundreds of ways to leave town.

9.) Make your workbench look more like a doctor's office with an 11 x 14 SBE Certificate proving technical competence short of doing open-heart surgery.

10.) Some will require it for employment. Some employers will give you a raise. Some will give you a laurel and a hearty handshake.

If you're already a member, send in your renewal. If you've been sitting on the fence about this, get off it before you make a new groove.

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Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Chapter 24

The FCC has issued an Experimental Radio Service license to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) to permit two-way tests in the vicinity of 5 MHz, the most likely site of the next amateur HF band. The experimental license callsign of WA2XSY was issued in January. It will be shared among 15 amateurs in various parts of the US and the Caribbean to conduct experimental two-way radioteletype and single-sideband transmissions from 5.100 to 5.450 MHz. Even though two studies by the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) include an allocation at 5 MHz among future spectrum needs for the Amateur Radio Service, the subject is not likely to win an allocation at a World Radiocommunication Conference for several years.

The FCC has granted a one-year experimental license to the Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation to conduct tests on the frequency 136.75 kHz. Emissions authorized for these tests include 173 Hz and 450 Hz bandwidth frequency-shift data and 100 Hz bandwidth CW with 1 watt ERP. More information is available from the AMRAD web site at www.amrad.org.

The FCC's newest amateur radio enforcer, Riley Hollingsworth (a ham himself, K4ZDH), is making himself highly visible lately. On January 13, he showed up on the air on the 75 meter band to break into an on-air argument, then stayed on the frequency to discuss FCC enforcement issues. Hollingsworth has recently stepped up FCC enforcement, fining and sending warning letters to several hams who were in violation of the rules.

April 22 will be Amateur Radio Operator Recognition Day in Wisconsin. A proclamation has been approved, and there will be a ceremony in March for Governor Tommy Thompson to officially sign the proclamation. The ceremony, recognizing Amateur Radio's role in emergency preparedness and response, will be in conjunction with the April Tornado Awareness Week proclamation.

(Excerpts from March 1999 QST Magazine and The ARRL Letter)

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Home Is Where You Hang Your @

In any case, John B passed this along.. and I'll violate my own rule and send out two in one week...

1. Home is where you hang your @
2. The E-mail of the species is more deadly than the mail.
3. A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.
4. You can't teach a new mouse old clicks.
5. Great groups from little icons grow.
6. Speak softly and carry a cellular phone.
7. C:\ is the root of all directories.
8. Don't put all your hypes in one home page.
9. Pentium wise; pen and paper foolish.
10. The modem is the message.
11. Too many clicks spoil the browse.
12. The geek shall inherit the earth.
13. A chat has nine lives.
14. Don't byte off more than you can view.
15. Fax is stranger than fiction.
16. What boots up must come down.
17. Windows will never cease.
18. In Gates we trust (and our tender is legal).
19. Virtual reality is its own reward.
20. Modulation in all things.
21. A user and his leisure time are soon parted.
22. There's no place like http://www.home.com
23. Know what to expect before you connect.
24. Oh, what a tangled website we weave when first we practice.
25. Speed thrills.
26. Give a man (or for that matter anyone) a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks.

Frederick M. Baumgartner

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Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas

At 20:00 EST, 0000 GMT, on the second Sunday of each month, SBE Chapter 73 takes to the air. Hal Hostetler, WA7BGX, of Tucson, Arizona, is the control station for the "meeting". Updates on SBE activities are given each month and participants can discuss technical issues and visit. HAMnet was originally begun to help serve members who lived too far to attend meetings of any regular chapter, but any amateur operator is welcome and encouraged to participate. Look for HAMnet on 14.205 mHz.

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News and Views from SBE Chapter 18 - Philadelphia

Something left out of the article in January's RADIATOR was that lightning produces a smell. It's ozone. Frankly, I have always liked the smell of ozone, but the EPA classifies ozone as pollution, and you can see it reported as an air contaminant in their reports. Have you ever smelled ozone? Well, maybe you haven't been near a lightning strike, but oftentimes you smell it around color tv sets and other devices where the voltage gets up to 20 kV or so. At a transmitter site, where the towers have taken hits, quite often there is the smell of ozone in the air. Typically, when coming across ozone, I will inhale deeply. M-m-m. Does it cause a breathing problem? I don't know.


Typically, about this time of year we will see John Rahtes, and possibly another FCC staff member, at one of our meetings. They come to bring us up- to-date on current Commission thinking and to answer our concerns. About 23 members and guests listened as Mr. Rahtes talked about recent actions in the FCC's world. He explained that no broadcaster needs to be fined, as the FCC always gives a warning. It is when the warning is ignored that the Commission staff must impose a fine. And most of those fines range from $1,000 to $8,000, depending on the seriousness of the matter.

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Dilbert's Salary Theorem

Dilbert's Salary Theorem states that:
Engineers and scientists can never earn as much as business executives and sales people.

The math behind this statement is as follows:
Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power Postulate 2: Time is Money.
As every engineer knows: Power = Work/Time
But: Knowledge = Power And Time = Money
After substitution we are left with:
Knowledge = Work/Money
Solving for Money, we get:
Money = Work/Knowledge.

Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.
Conclusion: The less you know, the more you make.

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Sightings Of The Stupid

Sighting #1:

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate, when the airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" I said, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" He smiled and nodded knowingly, "That's why we ask."

Sighting #2:

At a goodbye lunch for an old and dear co-worker who is leaving the company due to "rightsizing," our manager spoke up and said, "This is fun. We should have lunch like this more often." Not another word was spoken. We just looked at each other like deer staring into the headlights of an approaching truck.

Sighting #3:

I worked with an Induhvidual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the life of her could not understand why her system would not turn on.

Sighting #4 (a rare "double sighting"):

A friend had a brilliant idea for saving disk space. He thought if he put all his Microsoft Word documents into a tiny font they'd take up less room. When he told me I was with another friend. She thought it was a good idea too.

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The Top 3 Unforeseen Consequences of the "Millennium Bug"

3.) Internet Movie Database now lists "1901: A Space Odyssey"
2.) IRS demands a hundred years of interest from stunned taxpayers.
1.) Unexpected demand for COBOL programmers results in severe understaffing of fast-food restaurants.

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Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris........(303)756-4843 email: bharris4@ix.netcom.com
Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
Andre' Smith.......(303)556-3549 email: asmith@carbon.cudenver.edu

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Societies, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE and SMPTE Newsletter is published approximately twelve times per year. It is prepared with a combination of text and graphic data. Submission deadline is 10 days before the last day of each month. Other SBE or SMPTE chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and/or the Denver SBE/SMPTE Newsletter.